If your neighborhood is anything like mine, empty storefronts have become the norm, city or suburb.
Enter miLES (“Made In the Lower East Side”).
Founder Eric Ho discovered that NYC’s lower east side had about 200 vacant storefronts and decided to do something about it. miLES has become a sort of “airbnb for storefronts” (Fast Company) for ease of dialogue between landlord and renter. Their recent (successful) Kickstarter campaign wrapped up funding for their Storefront Transformer, a modular kit that will provide flexible furnishings for temporary spaces.
mILES aims to temporarily breathe life into display windows, driving traffic into the space and giving entrepreneurs (and many more) a taste of space. With “pop-up” shops becoming more popular, the concept of temporary retail has become quite popular and exciting. Retail isn’t the only business to benefit, either. These vacant spaces could be occupied by eateries, artists, co-working spaces, shops for classes, or events. miLES also operates as a daily, weekly, or monthly installation space, giving even more flexibility to interested parties. Even landlords benefit from this exchange, as it drives potential buyers and provides some rent in the interim.
The Storefront Transformer incorporates the idea that design really can make things better. And just because they’ve reached their goal, that doesn’t mean it’s over. You can still fund the miLES project to enable even more pop-ups with more transformers. Check out all the awesome rewards: gifts, experiences, services, or even your own pop-up! Or stop by their upcoming shows this winter (below), if you’re in town.
If not, support it anyway. I think miLES could easily be adopted in other cities and towns. Businesses and individuals are given the opportunity to temporarily try on a store, promote their work, and develop a customer base, while enhancing the local community. Give this project legs and have it come to you.
All images from miLES Kickstarter campaign here.